Authorities in the US and the Netherlands have presented Swedish telecom carrier Telia Company AB with a $1.4bn (£1bn) bribery charge.
It’s alleged Telia distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to secure business in Uzbekistan in 2007.
The suggested fine would be one of the largest ever under the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – designed to clamp down on what US prosecutors say are the spoils of corrupt practices overseas.
Telia chairwoman Marie Ehrling in a statement said:
I have said on many occasions in the past that Telia Company’s entry into Uzbekistan was done in an unethical and wrongful way and we are prepared to take full responsibility. We are cooperating fully with the authorities to bring clarity to the matter.
With that said, our initial reaction to the proposal is that the amount is very high. We will now have to analyse the information and decide on how to proceed with the ongoing discussions with the authorities.
The fine is equal to about 14 per cent of Telia’s annual revenue.
Telia – 37.3 per cent owned by the Swedish state – has abandoned its overseas expansion plans, putting many of its international assets up for sale.